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Full text of "The Creative Woman"

rheCreathOe^oman 



Quarterly 




ourri 




The 

^wOman A quarterly, Governors State University, Park Forest South, IL 60466. vol. 2, no. 2, autumn 1978 

A quarterly published at Governors State University under the auspices of the Provost's Office ©1978, Governors State University and Helen Hughes 
STAFF 

Helen E. Hughes, Editor 
Lynn Thomas Strauss, Editorial Assistant 
Joan Lewis, Editorial Consultant 
Suzanne Oliver, Graphic Designer 

ADVISORY COUNCIL 

Donna Bandstra, Social Sciences 

Rev. Ellen Dohner, Religion 

Rita Durant, League ol American Penwomen 

Harriet Gross, Sociology/ Women's Studies 

Helene Guttman, Biological Sciences 

Mimi Kaplan, Library Resources 

Shirley Katz, Music/Literature 

Young Kim, Communications Science 

Harriet Marcus, Journalism 

BetyeSaar, Fine Arts 

Mariorie Sharp, Human Relations Services 

Sara Shumer, Political Theory 

Emily Wasiolek, Literature 



^laGMGTfuOTj 
1978 



Tabie of Contents 

Page 

Androgyny: The Unfinished Task Natalie Hayes 3 

The Skydiver Helen T. Brown 5 

My Mother— A Traditional Woman 

And I— An Untraditional Woman Rhoda Riley 6 

The Graphic Designer Suzanne Oliver 8 

A Lovely Place on Cedar Street Shirley Katz 10 

From the Editor's Bed Helen Hughes 1 1 

Book Review— "Women of Crisis" Lynn Strauss 13 



Cover Photo by Julie Taylor 
BOTTLE, ROPE AND BRUSH 



Androgyny: The Unfinished Task 
by Natal ie Hayes 

How shall we restore balance to 
human life? The next threshold 
crossing will be inner, psycholog- 
ical, as men and women learn to 
integrate the "masculine" and 
"feminine" aspects of their being. 

A change in the way energy is 
transmitted qualifies for me as 
a "threshold-crossing". The male 
separated from the androgynous 
matrix in evolutions first in 
bacteria which foreshadowed that 
separation which would appear in 
creatures of larger size. The effect 
of this split into two equal and 
opposite sexes was to wildly expand 
the gene pool, and Ordovician seas 
swarmed with a phantasmagoria of 
organisms of all sizes, shapes, 
conditions, characteristics. 

E. col i and Phylum Brachiopoda were 
two such thresholds. Copulation 
is the third, and it did not appear 
until Permian reptiles. Until that 
time, all the survival information 
needed by any creature, microcosmic 
or macrocosmic such as dinosaurs 
were simple: to find shelter at the 
moment of hatching, and to seek 
food shortly thereafter. Therefore, 
even a 50' Diplodocus had sufficient 
intelligence to survive; he had 
only two tasks to perform. Copula- 
tion, as Jacquetta Hawks tells us 
poetically in A Land added a third 
task, that of seeking a mate and 
mating. Thus symbiotical I y the 
task developed the brain, and in 
turn the brain further differentiated 
the ways to perform the task. From 
those giant couplings, "all slime 
and scale" nevertheless evolved 
Heloise and Abe lard. 

The next threshold came about 230 
million years ago when the first 
Triassic mammals appeared as mud 
grubbers, tiny enough to escape 
predation. For the first time infor- 
mation could be transmitted from one 
generation to the next. (One could 



almost say the female was the first 
teacher. ) 

Motherhood, however, evolved too. It 
did not spring full blown as Madonna 
and Child, from the dawn of earth 
time. Even much later, 135 million 
years ago the Cretaceous tree shrew 
dropped her young and left them for 
two or three days returning to squirt 
milk into their mouths and depart 
again. The urine smell guided her, 
and if she didn't locate them instantly 
she left never to return! But the 
male was never a relating member 
of this group until nature experimented 
with some mammals such as lion, wolf, 
bear The bi parental family was the 
masterstroke of evolution. And a 
truly biparental family exists in 
birds and has for eons (descendants of 
dinosaurs), and in wolves, who have 
developed a kind of ethical system: no 
male will ever attack a female, a cub or 
a packmember, no matter what the 
provocation . 

However, beyond that, the male urge 
to split off is primal, phylogenet ic, 
and it differentiates from a simple 
organic drive to the search for more 
and more complex forms. I think of 
it as one gorgeous line of progression 
from E. coli and Phylum Brachiopoda 
to the ancient sun gods and Ra, and 
the Logos. These are masculine 
achievements and they symbolize the 
masculine principle. Primitive man 
developed rituals to break the 
"imprint" to the mother: puberty 
rites and becoming-a-man ceremonies 
later evolved into the Bar Mitzvah 
and its Christian counterpart, 
Confirmation; all primitive cultures 
still retain this ritual, although 
In our modern culture we have only 
vestiges of these. We have left to 
us only the masculine skills, values 
and goals which also can function 
as separative instruments so that the 
young will be able to free themselves 
from dependency. 

From the father the young learn skills, 
values and goals, and this frees 
the libido from childhood. The Indus- 
trial Revolution deprived the male 



of his five unconscious but fundamen- 
tal supports: relationship to the 
earth as farmer, carpenter, stone- 
mason, miner- (creative relationship, 
mutually beneficial); to wife as 
equal partner in the home which 
formed the foundation of society; to 
children as teacher, guide and guru, 
also a symbiotic relationship 
mutually beneficial; to the community 
as performer of any function, 
physician, minister, attorney or 
craftsman; and to God e The adult 
male, head of the family was secure 
in this unconscious, symbiotic 
network of relationships. He knew 
his role, as surely as does any 
tribal drummer or mask maker and 
chiefo When fathers and elder sons 
departed this natural, evolutionary 
phenomenon, the Home Base as 
ecological, biological, spiritual 
and psychological center which 
formed actually a mandala, an 
atavistic, primitive structure 
reappeared; the all adult, all 
male, homogeneous group entirely 
spl it off from the matrix. 

I suggest that what has happened is 
something of the same thing, today, 
but on an altogether different level, 
the psychological level. Today 
adult males do not teach skills, 
values and goals to their sons and 
daughters as a general rule. Many 
exceptions exist of course, but in 
general, the male stopped transmit- 
ting information first when he 
entered the industrial machine, and 
secondly, during the Great Depres- 
sion. Ridicule, scorn, contempt, 
indifference are not teaching tools 

They are weapons and they can ki I I 
and maim, just as surely as can clubs 
and whips. There is also paternal 
deprivation . 

Jung has said that the masculine 
principle means knowing what needs 
to be done and taking the necessary 
steps to achieve it. And Irene 
Claremont de Castillejo said in her 
book Knowing Woman that the soul of 
modern woman is still in great distress 
for it has been left in the uncon - 



scious too long. In less metaphysical 
terms, this means excluded from 
world cultures, and on all levels, 
educational, ethical, spiritual and 
legalo But now something is dif- 
ferent. Now it is the soul of woman 
that struggles upwards. Ha bet 
mu I ier an imam? One solemn medieval 
(male) scholar asked another. The 
answer was NO! Another modern 
psychologist even said woman has 
no soul, she j_s the soul. What 
utter rot, to deprive her of her 
mortality along with her immortality! 

But the hero struggles, the male 
monotheisms carried the male urge 
to become an individual, to bring 
forth the mighty jewel of conscious- 
ness from the deepest levels of the 
psyche Out of the mob came the 
hierarchy. Out of the hierarchical 
group emerged the individual. And 
out of the individual's collective 
and personal unconscious emerges the 
ego. It is the male hero who has 
done this. He truly is the hero, 
rescuer of humanity from unknowing. 
But modern man has no feel ing of his 
own; woman has carried it for him all 
these millenia. No feeling was 
permitted him. It was effeminate, 
effete, weak, womanish, disgusting. 
Overnight modern man must learn to 
relate on a conscious level That 
is his next evolutionary task. The 
family of man is in big trouble all 
over the world. What we need is an 
integration of male and female, Eros 
and Logos, equal and opposite, 
shoulder to shoulder instead of eye- 
ball to eyeball, so we can get on 
with the biggest job of all - to 
answer the question of the sphinx: 
What is the meaning of life? 



4 




THE SKYDIVER 



His future was the sky. It stretched toward space 

with fingers poised to catch the strands of sun. 

It had a silken strength, which interlaced 

the warp and woof of air and made them one. 

Enveloped in its cloth he felt a king, 

with prescient gaze he dreamed of greater deeds, 

his kinship with the earth developing 

an understanding of its human needs. 

The past was grist of grief. This life to be 

would supplement horizons long denied, 

recipient of sunshined legacy 

he spanned two worlds in joyous, airborne stride. 

Helen T. Brown 



MY MOTHER-A TRADITIONAL WOMAN- 
AND I -AN UNTRADITIONAL WOMAN 
by Rhoda Ri ley 

My mother is a remarkable example of 
a secure, non- I i berated woman. 
She was brought up to believe that 
her place was in the home and never 
tried to dispute it. This, to her 
mind, was a condition which not 
only could not be changed, but 
who would want to change it? After 
all, women were meant for childbearing 
and nurturing, and what could be 
better for that purpose than staying 
home? But my mother was also an 
intelligent, creative woman who 
knew, or learned how to lead her 
own life, be self-actualizing, 
encourage my father (a University of 
Chicago Ph.D. geologist) to do his 
thing, and permit him to believe that 
his was the final word in his life as 
wel I as hers and ours. 

My mother became a community leader, 
a teacher of many crafts, an example 
to her many friends, and she did it 
all from her home. She probably 
took up her crafts as self-defense 
against the boredom of being a 
housewife and then went on to teach 
others. Her philosophy of life seems 
to have been to share her knowledge 
and abilities with others. She taught 
creative writing, painting, and crafts, 
of which she is best remembered for 
weaving. The name Fanny Cha Mis Bretz 



is still revered by the weaving 
guilds of the South Suburbs,, In my 
father's house today hang her paintings- 
scores of them-crowded on every wall. 
Every curtain and drapery and bedspread 
is handwoven, except for those bed- 
spreads which are handquilted or 
handtufted People came to her house 
because she was unable to get out: my 
father never taught her to drive. 

My mother baked bread year round, 
canned the summer vegetables and made 
jelly and marmalade in season. She 
derived satisfaction and served an 
economic need by economizing on food, 
raising chickens for the table and 
breeding dogs to sell, by sewing 
her clothes and mine and knitting 
sweaters for the entire family. She 
went to the city by train at least once 
a week to attend one class or 
another at the Art Institute. Writing 
this, I find myself wondering how 
In the world she managed to fit so 
many things into her life The 
answer, of course, is that all these 
activities were not concurrent,, She 
hooked and braided many rugs before 
she ever took up weaving and never 
made another rug after the house 
became overrun with looms. I 
haven't mentioned her garden-which 
was a neighborhood showplace My 
father constructed her looms for 
her, did the hard work in the garden, 
and praised her for her industry 
and abi I ity. 




MESSINGER SHORE, 
DEVILS LAKE 

by Fanny Cha 1 1 Is 
Bretz 



I started out my married life 
In 1938„ During my period of 
active motherhood I didn't work. 
By the time my second and last child 
was in school, I was back at work. 
I worked in an electronics plant, 
took advantage of the union 
apprentice program and worked up 
to the position of electronics 
technician. I keep a motorcycle; 
it is a symbol of my independence,, 
I don't ride it often, but just 
to know that it is there and that 
I can go off with the wind in my 
hair is worth a lot! What I do 
these days ?s to care for my aged 
father, cook three meals a day, keep 
the house and garden, cut wood for 
the fireplace, make jelly, sew, and 
teach crafts when I can get away. 

I work part time at a program for 
senior citizens. Photography seems 



to be my speed. I can read the dials, 
mix the chemicals, feel a good 
picture and understand what I am 
doi ng. 

I am not as traditional a woman as 
my mother yet I am continuing in 
her example of creative expressions 
In photography ! have found a medium 
of expression which is contemporary. 
Using my own talent and today's 
technology I express my impressions 
of the beauties of nature. My 
mother, the traditional woman artist, 
provided me with the background that 
has allowed me to be a non-traditional 
woman artist. 

Because I'm caring for my father, 
my movement is somewhat restricted. 
I'm a little worried about losing 
out on some of my life. I don't 
want to waste any of it! Am I 
I i berated? 




FEATHER AND STONE by Rhoda Riley 




rfe 

frcccphto 
cier 

Suzanne 
OUver 



When Helen as ted me out/at X 
uuouJc/ 1 1 Kg to contribute to this 
parte utair ittue, seet'm as hoou ft u)as 
Concern fnq art and x aim am attest; 
X uoas (/it a loss awd evnbarmzbed 
about- it pern am £ the graphic 
i&ijmir tor each iSSUe oC ke 
Creative Udorvan Quarterly awd I 
have, m artuuoirc b Submit, Car 
fiOU be ? 

douuever after some thought; 
1 had ujkat the art dices -for here, 

(tails j a, cceadiue ■bneatetfirounk. !Ww 
»—*~*-^j ■—^ — ,_^. — ^_ — ^*_^_j_^ 



Hut explain to our i/eaders uakau X J as> 
ex Cjvophic desyner^ do hr Hie CceatiUe 
[jjovciaici 7 Lots of people ace con-fused 
dpout the words gmphrc avid design 
id -pirief tktuj -tend to tdiiyit X do 
dfl the dirawiiACj5 -dead you See tin 

tie Cccadue fuoiman. f^SJ^Jdff 
■due . 

^ job is to fate all tie copy 
after edidny, and uakateuetr actujons 
-that Ifitfo been peso sous (y submitted, 
put it iK am order fetgeeed upon iy 
fhe bM) acid made ,t loots tmuf/ful. 
ivkce there ace koles iin the copy 
1 tiAj to cocne ucp aJifk a graphic 
ifidtf & releuant acid asppeataeg- ffeleci 



fc ecotlleictf about hel-piciej cne uJitk 
tkcb) ahe's aluJaye cocniny up uodf 
5owe fide dvojuJiciq ^hets found 
&wneuoh<ec&. 5oimedmes X do act 
original diauomcj; soncieft'mes> cue 
iM£ cfp act ( adioort already 
copy rta] fated foe ice lease). Ocoassicmh 
our Headers send us tilings Hiey 
kOJJe drauoin, ivhi'ch uJe hue. 

do matse matters as easy 
as possible tie Cceadve Woman 
is pasted up ok pre-prt cited paste- 
up sheets. Then hots somewimg 



life tfnfS 

xfie 
yce-pri 

lines ace 
di a li 
i?lue licift 



-17 




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thatt falls oud or disappears uthen 
photo yg coop tied, ifity ace Simply 
ifiece to aid fine anted in pasti'xg 
(up- X tatte tfie dopy fkcti cs 
typed on reyulat zdz'xu " 
typing pupeay ifiiin it ffiraugk ac 
many itnacfacm& that- tcauescu 
thin coat of ujozx on the bact: 
acid ley if doiva oicl the paye. 
Somedtnes> if is possible to /ay 
fht uokole jwo column typea 
sheet dowk. ; buidr usually there, 
due m terti'onz or changes to be 
made, at is pny deeiSioa houoh 
lay odd each individual paae ) 
idhere to cut the dopy to tcisert 
as Ojcaphsc or plwfoyyrcephj oh 

flouo to a! toau foe n pleasing space 



8 




One op -Me -fhmf 
X hW& -tried j/iot 

■h do & just Uhcn 
ift 6ome coctseu 
ywphfc euenjliwe 
■ttws 5ome space 
left over. One of -Hie. -biqqebf responsibil- 
ities tor she designer -to tecum iS h^uj to 
use space effec-h'velu ■ 

Oftein-h'irnes tie artuuoirt (jJe, 



h(Wo t$ ttie uoronoj one so x must 
wlcurqe, or reduce , uohi'cfoeoetr $e 
case, j ty ike u$e of a. -photostat 
mdchime. lion that act/AjortC 16 
waxed and toyed oixt in the proper 
space. 

Ottas&iMally x use rub -off 
lettering to set -type for Hie head- 
lines ljou see, Such ae the Me 
of each individual issue, because 
WO aire on cc nuttier faint Schedule 
J trip to do the, CnecehUe IdJornan 
pasde-up m fa days } uJe cut 
conniou/s tvtieirever uoe oar?. Haiaj 
paste* up jobs of tneoos tenets and 

jour red e> of ao -pacjes Me up to 
± ujeeto. QbUi'ousUj tie monz 
time uiou- spend fie mare eiatotafe 
and creative the putocati'on ran 
-become. 

Men X J ace tte paste- cop h 

our pointer, the paqcs musf t& 
OdmorcL readu j> in other uuords our 
printer 5itr%p(n kdS to Skoot Cplwl- 
ogrciptt) tit VrtuJorK to mate. 
Itift metal plate and start prints 
ifie possible exception is if uuef 
include pkotvajrapfs an the issue, 



All pdotogiapins must be Xntened. 
Sometimes despmens miotnt 
perform tfiie last: ioUt uue do ret 
hewe tie favlitu Inare^ eo cue let 
the pointer do moot. 

ddie dec ibto n of oo/or -lor paper 
is made ty phe staff m cdemennij 
everyone seems to Imude pretty 
Strong feetmOjG also at yon at color 
of peeper thtp mount 

X Inaoue descouened iiootiy 
taidnoj tie Crea-hve IdVomcm to tie 
pnnten nujseip carrying it in my 
om two hands y dooti out lodes 
hove Veen made alert easier xt 

io of tfit utmost 
importance for -the 
despneu and tte 
prmter to under- 
stand each otfieo 
ovvnptotttoj. X mate 
sure beforcv so leave 
Into offce tfoad he 
has ino more aues- 
ttoins and -Malt he 
Knows? he mag 
call ma cvt am 
point 5kouJd 
SometfiinC) drfse. 
Xi i$ extretnenp dtscoumqrnq to 
submit atttvonC for pritutfiriCj and 
rectioe something tin retocroo 
<jt>LL Poorely recoowze as (jour ousn. 
hnd VolieUe, me d happens. 

At far? poinds pnen, -the despners 
job is done, ptw X must- waff 
podienthj for -the resudtv ; Witi a 
tdeifdpragar X ifwyfot add 




9 



A LOVELY PLACE ON CEDAR STREET 
by Shirley Katz 

A brick walkway and a side court- 
yard with flowers, trees and a 
few tables set off the neat and 
graceful home of the Cedar Street 
Gallery and Cafe in Santa Cruz, 
Ca I i fornia. 

Inside the doorway is a wooden 
plaque which reads "Built in 1865. 
An excellent example of Gothic 
Revival architecture. Santa Cruz 
Historical Society." 

The gallery walls are white; the 
floors and stairways natural wood. 
Paintings hang uncrowded on the 
walls. Upstairs are more paintings, 
small sculpture, weavings and fine 
pottery. 



"Italian specialties" are served 
in the courtyard or the back rooms. 
The rooms are bright The food is 
delicious and nicely presented on 

handmade dishes. 

Gwen Shupe and Mary Helen Chappell, 
who restored the house and created 
the lovely setting, are justly 
proud (and a bit amazed) at the 
results of their courage, vision 
and hard work. As Gwen says," I 
can hardly believe we did it. 
You should have seen the place! It 
was a dark and dismal wreck." 

Stop in at the Cedar Street Gallery, 
And tell these two creative women 
that you read about them in The 
Creative Woman. 




CEDAR STREET GALLERY & CAFE 

■in Cedar Street Santa Cruz, California 95060 



10 




FROM THE EDITOR'S BED 



About this Issue: 



Readers who expected to read 
about "Pol itics and the Study of 
Politics" in this issue may look 
for the topic to surface again for 
Volume III, No. 1 in Summer 1979. 
Sara Shumer has agreed to continue 
to read papers submitted on this 
topic. We encourage you to send 
material on this very important 
issue. 

Our Potpourri has been assembled 
from articles, letters, photographs, 
a painting, an idea, a poem, that 
had not quite fit into earlier 
topical issues. It's interesting 
how things come together. As the 
issue took shape we could see 
connections. 

Natalie Hayes, our most prolific 
correspondent, wrote a many-paged 
answer to the "Letter from Doug" 
(Vol. I, No. 2) which has been 
excerpted here as the lead article, 
"Androgyny: the Unfinished Task". 

Speaking to the League of American 
Penwomen recently at the Chicago 
Cultural Center, we had the 
opportunity to meet Helen Brown, 
President of the Poets Club of 
Chicago. She writes this about 
her poem Skydiver (page 5) "It is 
not the daredevil thrill that 
attracts young people. It is: 

The rigid discipline engendered 
In layering the parachute so 
that it unfolds to perfection; the 
target on the ground that is an 
incentive to reach; the group 
consciousness of the operation, 
not only the camaraderie, but the 
sharing of responsibility; and last, 
but certainly not least, the physical 
sensations of floating down, not 
diving, as the name Implies. It is 
a feeling of gratification, rather 
than that of euphoria, which implies 
lack of restraint. 

Rather than a means of death, for 
despondent persons, it is a new 



11 



way of life. The participants 
long for the next "jump". This 
is a serious encounter with a new 
dimension, primarily for the young, 
A physical descent of thousands of 
feet in three minutes entails change 
of blook pressures, strain on the 
heart and circulation. It is a 
one for one encounter with elemental 
forces of I i fe " 

Rhoda Riley, a local photographer 
and Suzanne Oliver, our graphic 
designer, both identified with 
The Creative Woman from the first 
issue, here share their different 
perspectives on the creative process 
as they experience it. More 
photographs by our prize-winning 
Julie Taylor appear. And our new 
editorial assistant, Lynn Thomas 
Strauss, contributes a review of 
Women of Crisis . 

We are a quarterly in constant flux. 
The editorial office is nicknamed 
"the launching pad" for the ways 
in which women come through these 
doors, contribute for a while some- 
thing of their essential uniqueness, 
then blast off to greener fields 
and greater challenges. New ideas 
and new women continually refresh 
our efforts. This is what we are 
a I I about. 

The Winter 1979 issue will deal 
with Communications with Dr. Young 
Kim as guest editor. Spring 1979 
will be on Feminism as an Intel lectual 
corrective to scholarship, and 
Dr. Harriet Gross invites women of 
all disciplines to write to us: what 
is distinctive or different about the 
way women do_ scholarship in your field? 

As we enter our next period of growth 
and definition as a quarterly of 
general interest to women who are 
engaged in the liberation of their 
creative energies, we remind you that 
you, our subscribers, are essential 
to our continued survival. Write 
a check now for five dollars and send 
us your renewal. Write a check 
for twenty dollars and remember 
your friends with a gift for the 
hoi idays. 




*i5*. 



w 




BIRD'S NEST ON WINDOW 

by Ju I ie Taylor 



Is this a letter to the future? 
Or is It a relic of the past? 

Suzanne Prescott is working on a 
project to create an archeology 
now for the women of the future 
to discover. What would you put 
in a time capsule for our daughters' 
daughters? 

Send your ideas to the editorial 
office of The Creative Woman 



12 




BOOK REVIEW 



WOMEN OF CRISIS by Robert Coles 
and Jane Hallowell Coles. Delacorte 
Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1978. 

This book is first and foremost 
a sharing of the lives of five 
contemporary American women. 
Deep connections exist among these 
women who have never met, for they 
all are touched by visions of 
transcendence and nightmares of 
terror. They all dream vividly 
and often, day dreams as wel I as 
night dreams. It is the stuff of 
these dreams that so clearly affirms 
that the life of a poor hardworking 
woman is apart from and different 
than the life of a poor hardworking 
man. 

As in Robert Coles' earl ler 
Pulitzer Prize winning series, 
Chi idren of Crisis, Women of Crisis 
is a narrative drawn from the 
intensive observation and study 
of individuals. Because it is a 
consideration of people rather 
than of a problem, in order to 
acquaint you with the book, I 
must introduce you to the women 
whose stories are here so powerfully 
told. 

First we neet Ruth James, a migrant 
farm worker who's earliest memories 
are of crawl ing after her mother 
down the long dusty rows of 
vegetables and who hated most the 
hot bumpy ride on the migrant bus. 
While constantly moving from one 
end of Florida to the other she 
dreamed of saving money and getting 
a job in a beauty parlor, having a 
little house that would be only 
a short walk from the beauty parlor 
and never going on the road again. 

Ruth gained insight from what she 
saw in the lives of the women 
around her, and although her range 
of choice was limited she recognized 
that she did indeed have some choices 
to make. She chose to be alone, 



to be different. In order To 
avoid the responsibilities of 
children, she chose not to marry 
and to exclude men from her life. 
She never left Florida nor worked 
in a beauty parlor, but she did 
leave the fields and gain a measure 
of independence and comfort. 

Hannah Morgan, a woman of Harlan 
County, Appalachla Is now living 
in Dayton, Ohio working in a 
supermarket. She remembers as 
a child that everyone believed 
that if you left the hollow, left 
the mountains of Kentucky, then you 
became lost. She knows she is not 
lost, but still after all these 
years in the city she thinks of 
the mountains as her home. 

Even as a girl Hannah was given to 
vivid, confusing, unnerving dreams 
and as an adult she has experienced 
moments when "everything seemed 
about to fall apart." 

While traveling to work on the bus 
she notices and becomes curious 
about women in better circumstances, 
What would it be like, she thinks, 
to live in that big house, to have 
a car, to stay at home all day? 
Her teenage daughter also dreams 
of a different life, and in living 
through her daughter's adolescence,, 
Hannah is changed and finds she 
cannot get back to her old self. 

We are next Introduced to Teresa 
Torres, one of six children of a 
Mexican farm workers' family now 
living in San Antonio, Texas. She 
early understood the significance 
of the message she'd always heard, 
"your whole life depends on your 
husband". As a married woman she 
moved into her husband's home 
eventually giving birth to two 
sons who also shared that one small 
bedroom. She had no friend, only 
brothers and sisters, and brothers- 
in-law and sisters-in-law, and 
cousins and more cousins. 

As a teenager she had bad dreams, 
dreams filled with terror and 



13 



humiliation. She also had a 
powerful and confusing experience in 
the form of an opportunity or 
temptation to work for good money 
in an illegal enterprise. She reject- 
ed the offer, but held onto the 
vision of hope and escape that grew 
out of that event. As an adult 
she says, "sometimes I wish I could 
fight. I'd be a good fighter, once 
I got my courage up. But now, 
I'm afraid." 

Moving from Texas to Alaska we 
meet Lorna, the only daughter of 
an Eskimo family. She was closer 
to her father than any of her six 
brothers, for as she says, "father 
and I shared a similar spirit". 
She worked with him doing carpentry 
and repairs from about the age of 
seven on. 

She was, even as a child, her own 
kind of person and was always 
regarded by others as strange. 
She was guiet and alone and 
believed that the spirits of some 
of the Eskimo women who used to 
live in the village were asking her 
to stand up and speak for them. 

Because she was unlike other women 
and yet not a man, she occupied a 
unique position in her village and 
ultimately led the women to break 
with tradition and participate 
in an activity that had previously 
been inaccessable to them. 

The last woman we meet is Helen, 
a white woman from a Boston 
"streetcar suburb" who has worked 
for a long time in the home of a 
prominent well-off Cambridge family. 
Helen knows the family she works for 
very well and she sees many things. 
She sees that in spite of advantage, 
comfort and pr ivi iedge, "the missus" 
is not at peace with herself. That 
although "the missus" works hard 
for women's rights within the women's 
movement, her consciousness doesn't 
extend to those who do the menial 
work in her own home. 



Working for this woman everyday, 
who is the same age and race, Helen 
experiences more than anger, scorn 
and prejudice, she also sees 
similarities and there are moments 
when the two women come rather close 
to each other. At times her employer 
will be upset and tell Helen of a 
problem she's having with her 
daughter, or Helen will see that, 
although she is working for equal 
rights, her employer does not speak 
to her husband in the same way she 
speaks to others. With her husband, 
she speaks softer and sometimes 
pretends to be a little dumb. As 
Helen puts it, "she's no different 
from any other woman, she uses her 
wiles when she needs to." 

Like the other women of this book, 
Helen has a notion of transcendence. 
She refers to her "spirit" and to 
the "bad side" of her "soul". By 
this she means that at times she 
has wished to be a man, and has 
dreamed of being rich and waited 
on by others. But if transcendence 
eludes these women they continue 
to hope and wait and survive. Their 
strength and courage is evidenced 
in their struggle to persist, to 
get by, to keep going,. 

The Coleses have presented an 
insightful look at the ambiguity 
of sex roles in our society. They 
have shown that for poor women 
engaged in a daily struggle for 
survival the enemy is a given 
social order, an economic system, 
but also a certain number of men. 
They have articulated important 
issues of sex and class. And as part 
of the Radcliffe biography series, 
Women of Crisis serves as a 
reflection of the lives of particular 
women, as a tribute to them and a 
tool with which we can deepen our 
understanding of them and of 
ourselves. 

Lynn Thomas Strauss 



14 




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